An Intellectual History Of The Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit Issue

This yearly edition of Sports Illustrated has played an important role in my life since 1978, when posters of Cheryl Tiegs in a white fishnet became ubiquitous. I didn’t know till then that there were beautiful women out there who were willing to show everything.

A few years later, Sports Illustrated published a memorable photo of Cheryl frolicking under a waterfall.

The magazine portrays a healthy attitude towards women. So many models are skinny. Sports Illustrated tells girls that it is OK to have curves.

A few years ago, I was on a date. We had an hour to kill before the movie started, so we wandered over to Borders and I started leafing through the Sports Illustrated bathing suit issue. My date joined me. She was interested in the bathing suits. I was interested in the girls.

It’s very important as a couple to do things together and to share common interests such as bathing beauties. reports:

Campbell’s 1978 issue proved a watershed moment for cheesecake. In Brazil, Campbell had persuaded model Cheryl Tiegs to pose for a throwaway shot in a white fishnet top, her nipples fully exposed. Somehow the shot made its way into the magazine. According to The Franchise, Michael MacCambridge’s excellent history of the magazine, nasty letters poured into Time-Life headquarters

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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